The Critic - A New England Nun

From The Critic Vol. 15 No. 387 (May 30, 1891)

Recent Fiction

What can we say that will express our sense of the beauty of Miss M. E. Wilkins's ‘A New England Nun and Other Stories?’ So true in their insight into human nature, so brief and salient in construction, so deep in feeling, so choice in expression, these stories rank even with the works of Mrs. Stowe and Miss Jewett. It is the marvellous repression of passion and feeling in the New England character that Miss Wilkins has drawn with such technique. Beneath the icy surface of demeanor she has looked into the heart of this strong self-contained people and has seen boiling and bubbling wells of fervency. It is chiefly from new England women that she has made her studies, and there is nothing in their narrow, sad, colorless life that has escaped her observation. Here are twenty-four stories so complete in form, so exquisite in texture, so fine that to single out any one such as ‘A New England Nun,’ ‘Callabilus and Hannah,’ or ‘The Revolt of Mother’ for especial praise means simply that there are times when the author has surpassed the even beauty of her literary style. ($1.25. Harper & Bros.)